Capital Flow Waves to and from Switzerland before and after the Financial Crisis


This paper first shows that capital inflows to and outflows from financial centers were disproportionately affected by the global financial crisis. Switzerland was no exception. The paper then identifies waves of capital flows to and from Switzerland from 2000:Q1 to 2014:Q2 by using a simple statistical method. The analysis shows that private capital inflows to and outflows from Switzerland have become exceptionally muted and less volatile since the crisis. Further, strong and long-lasting ‘home bias’ behavior can be observed for both Swiss and foreign investors. By contrast, net private capital flows have shown significantly higher volatility since the financial crisis, frequently registering extreme movements driven by extreme movements in bank lending flows. These findings suggest that the financial crisis generated a breaking point for capital flows to and from Switzerland.


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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Pinar Yeşin.

Additional information

I thank two anonymous referees, Adrien Alvero, Katrin Assenmacher, Irineu de Carvalho Filho, Andreas Fischer, Christian Grisse, seminar participants at the Swiss National Bank, and conference participants at the 2013 Conference of the Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics in Neuchatel and at the 2014 INFINITI conference on International Finance in Prato for their helpful comments and discussions. I also thank Adrien Alvero, Elisabeth Beusch, Elodie Moreau, and Laurence Wicht, who provided excellent research assistance at various stages of this project. Any remaining errors are my own. The views expressed in this paper are those of the author and do not represent those of the Swiss National Bank.

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Yeşin, P. Capital Flow Waves to and from Switzerland before and after the Financial Crisis. Swiss J Economics Statistics 151, 27–75 (2015).

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  • private capital flows
  • inflows
  • outflows
  • surges
  • stops
  • retrenchment
  • flight